Watkins, Arthur V. (Arthur Vivian), 1886-1973

Alternative names
Birth 1886-12-18
Death 1973-09-01

Biographical notes:

Watkins a U.S. Senator from Utah; first elected 1946; served two terms.

From the description of Letter, 1950 Feb. 11, Washington, D.C. to James Gehres, Nephi, Utah. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 14075317

United States Senator from Utah.

From the description of Arthur V. Watkins photographs, 1903-1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 367158920

Lewis Weston Oaks graduated from Brigham Young University in 1915, and received his M.D. degree in 1919 at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. He specialized in eye, ear, nose, and throat, from 1920 to 1969 in Provo, Utah. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

From the guide to the L. Weston Oaks papers, 1902-1965, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Senator, government executive.

From the description of Reminiscences of Arthur V. Watkins : oral history, 1968. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122512958

Lawyer, judge, United States Senator, and federal official.

From the description of Papers, 195- (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122480261

From the description of Papers, ca 1900-1980. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 367407610

Arthur V. Watkins was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worked as a lawyer in Utah for several years before serving two terms as a United States Senator between 1946 and 1958, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, and Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission.

Arthur V. Watkins was born in Midway, Utah on December 16, 1886, the first of eight children born to Arthur Watkins and Adelia (Gerber) Watkins. When he was not working on the farm, Arthur (or Vivian, as he was called at home) attended school with his siblings. In 1903, he began attending Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, where he studied hard and participated in the Rialto Club, formed in 1903 to discuss economic and political issues. Arthur dropped out of school in 1906 to teach fourth and fifth grades. He taught for one year and was called to serve a mission in the Eastern States for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After completing his mission on September 17, 1910, he decided to stay in New York and continue his education. In 1912 he graduated from Columbia University Law School.

While in New York, Arthur met Andrea Rich, the daughter of his Mission President, Ben E. Rich. After Arthur passed the Utah bar exam in 1912, he and Andrea were married at the Salt Lake Temple on June 18, 1913 by President Joseph F. Smith.

Arthur and Andrea settled in Vernal, Utah where Arthur practiced law and joined Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party. In 1915 Arthur accepted the appointment as Assistant County Attorney of Salt Lake County. While working at the County Attorney's office, Arthur began building a private practice. Two years later, the Democrats won the election and Arthur lost his appointment.

Arthur quit his private practice in 1922 due to health issues but soon set up another practice in American Fork, Utah. In 1925 the family moved to Orem so they could be closer to schools and the church. Arthur began another private practice in Provo. He was elected as Utah County judge in the Fourth District Court in 1928. He lost the reelection bid in 1930 and decided to merge his law practice with Raymond B. Holbrook. When Holbrook left, Arthur continued to practice on his own.

In 1946 Arthur was elected to the Untied States Senate. While in the Senate, Arthur and Andrea resided in Arlington, Virginia. Arthur ran for reelection in 1952 and defeated the Democratic challenger, Congressman Walt Granger. In 1954, Senator Knowland, the Senate Majority Leader, appointed Arthur as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, which censured Senator Joseph R. McCarthy for his conduct in the Senate. Arthur later wrote a book, Enough Rope, describing his emotions and experiences during the McCarthy hearings and debates. Partly due to his involvement in the McCarthy hearings, Arthur lost the election for U.S. Senator in 1958.

Arthur was very involved in the community and in church. He helped organize the Sharon's Cooperative Educational and Recreational Association (SCERA), a not-profit organization dedicated to providing educational recreational activities for youth in the area. He also became the director and general counsel for the Provo River Water User Association and worked with the Bureau of Reclamation and other organizations and agencies associated with the Water Users Association. The Williard Dam in Utah was later renamed the Arthur V. Watkins Dam in recognition of his work on the Bureau of Reclamation. Arthur also worked with Orem City on the Deer Creek project and Geneva Steel Plant project. At church, Arthur was called to served on the High Council, was active in the Young Men's program, and served as a stake president for 18 years.

After his defeat in the campaign of 1958, Arthur was appointed a member of the Indian Claims Commission and later accepted the position of Chief Commissioner. In 1965, while in the Indian Claims Commission, he received the Abraham O. Smoot Public Service Award from Brigham Young University. Arthur resigned as Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission at age 80 to spend more time with Andrea, who had contracted a serious heart condition. The next year Andrea died due to complications from a stroke a few years earlier. On March 1, 1972 Arthur married Dorothy Watkins. As lung cancer began to deteriorate his health, Arthur asked that he be moved to Orem to die where he passed away on September 1, 1973.

From the guide to the Arthur V. Watkins papers, 1886-1973, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)


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